Devin McCourty on verge of coming back to the Patriots?

McCourty could be returning to NE. (AP)
After the Patriots decided to franchise tag Stephen Gostowski, many people assumed that Devin McCourty would be allowed to hit free agency. With under 48 hours remaining of the league year, that appears to be reality.

Several teams have been linked to having interest in the safety, notably the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, New York Jets, and New York Giants. Of these three teams, none have been linked to McCourty as much as the Eagles have been. On top of that, the Eagles have already been reported of offering aggressive contracts to players soon to be official free agents. One dark horse team that has been mentioned sparingly is Devin's brother Jason's Tennessee Titans. The Titans have a ton of cap room and not many players to spend it on. But the Patriots apparently in talks to keep McCourty as of Sunday night.

Here is a breakdown of the current rumors and cap situations of each team, based on projected contracts for incoming free agents.

The Giants: Out of the interested teams, the Giants have the least amount of cap room. With around $13 million* in cap space, and a plethora of other positions to address, it doesn't seem overly likely that the Giants will be in play against the likes of the Eagles, Colts, and Patriots. Dan Graziano disputes this, but it will be interesting to see how much money they would offer him and if it is enough to outbid the loyalty of the Patriots and the aggressiveness of the Eagles.

The Colts: Indy has been a team that has had a tumultuous time with safeties in recent history. Mike Adams is injury prone and LaRon Landry juiced. But the Colts have a need, and the right amount of money to lure McCourty to their side. The Colts currently have around $38 million* in cap space, but that was before signing veteran OL Todd Herremans who is coming in on a $3.5 million dollar deal. The Colts are reportedly also interested in several high priced wide receivers and offensive linemen as well.

The Jets: This will be interesting to watch given the Jets' desire to get Revis. Should they get Revis, there's no way McCourty goes here, but it sounds more and more likely that the Patriots will be able to re-sign Revis. McCourty would match nicely nice to Calvin Pryor on that defense, but currently the Jets have no CBs, making that position a much higher priority for them. They could look to sign a second tier safety such as Louis Delmas or Tyvon Branch if things don't go their way.

The Eagles: No team has been associated more with Devin McCourty than the Philadelphia Eagles. With around $44 million* in cap space before their recent moves, the Eagles were a clear favorite. Rumors have been rampant throughout the last week, claiming Chip Kelly covets McCourty for his abilities as a free safety. Fortunately for the other teams interested, it was rumored that the Eagles desire to get two CBs before turning to a safety. With Byron Maxwell reportedly going to Philly on a six year, $63 million dollar deal, they will still target another CB. According to other sources, the Eagles will be signing Frank Gore to a three year deal, with $7.5 million in guaranteed money in the first two years. They also re-signed Mark Sanchez to a deal worth a guaranteed $5.5 million, with max value of $16 million, over two years. With the Chiefs closing in on a deal with Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles will need to add depth at WR. All these moves considered, and the money they could devote to McCourty seems to be dwindling. Also, there are sparse rumors of the Eagles looking at cheaper alternatives such as Rahim Moore, so that they can afford to address other positions.

The Titans: With Jason McCourty pining hard for his brother to join him, and the Titans with an excess of cap, this move may be the most likely other than a return to New England. The Titans have been rumored to be in on every free agent, and with north of $46 million* in cap room, they might be in the front for McCourty at the moment. Michael Griffin has been a good player for the Titans, but they lack a second safety. With only Michael Oher as a free agent signing, the Titans have money to throw around at anyone at this point. In a division with Andrew Luck and TY Hilton, DeAndre Hopkins in Houston, and potential rising star Blake Bortles (maybe with Julius Thomas and Demarco Murray), the Titans need to have a good defense to combat these weapons.

McCourty will have to decide what is more important to him: money, family, or success.

Late Sunday night, Charles Robinson reported that McCourty and the Patriots are currently in talks to return to New England. This is the first sign of talks between both sides, and with the way things have gone today, could mean that he knows what he wants to do.

*All cap numbers are based off of Over The Cap , and likely do not include to-be-announced signings.

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